Many of the album's songs became live staples for the group, especially the reggae-tinged "Don't Ask Me Questions," which dismisses a malevolent God. "Back To Schooldays" demonstrates why Parker was categorized as "angry young man" by journalists throughout his career: Parker plans retribution against an education system that promised him that "it was like a film out here" when "it's a real horror show, boys". The title track "Howlin' Wind" bracingly announces Graham Parker's career aim: "I'm gonna howl". "Between You and Me" dates from 1975, when Parker, before meeting the Rumour, recorded demo versions of a few of his songs for Dave Robinson, future founder of Stiff Records. These tracks were shopped to labels and played on radio. The album's liner notes explain that "A subsequent recording of the song did not match the feel of the original ... here it is!"
Howlin' Wind was reissued in the UK in 2001 on Vertigo/Mercury, with one bonus track.